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SAT Removes Optionally available Essay and Topic Exams: One other Barrier Eliminated

What’s extra aggravating than making use of for school on a traditional day? Doing it throughout a pandemic, when testing facilities shut unexpectedly, college students are quarantined with minutes discover, and households battle financially. Fortunately all seniors, this yr and final, are dealing with the identical issues. Each School Board and a few universities have taken discover and adjusted admission necessities to adapt to the instances. Most not too long ago, School Board introduced plans to drop the SAT elective essay and topic exams. This helps take away one other impediment for college kids making an attempt to use to a number of the most prestigious colleges within the nation.

The essay and topic exams have been extra methods college students may display their skills in matters akin to languages, chemistry, and historical past. Faculties generally used them to find out freshman yr class placements. However for some, the exams have been an costly and redundant choice. College students had already paid for AP testing on the identical topics and different standardized exams.

Why did School Board drop these elective exams?

In School Board’s press launch on January 19 , they clarify their reasoning. “The pandemic accelerated a course of already underway on the School Board to scale back and simplify calls for on college students.”

To that finish, they introduced the three adjustments:

  • Discontinuing the topic exams. “The expanded attain of AP and its widespread availability for low-income college students and college students of colour means the Topic Exams are not essential for college kids to point out what they know.”
  • Discontinuing the elective essay. “This determination acknowledges that there are different methods for college kids to display their mastery of essay writing.”
  • Making a streamlined, digital take a look at to extend entry “to prioritize well being and security.”

The change helps alleviate scholar stress.

My highschool seniors already really feel burdened over school essays, deadlines, the prospect of digital studying each for the remainder of highschool and for school, and testing entry throughout the pandemic. This elective testing “alternative” is now one much less factor to fret about.

Their psychological well being relies on a much less inflexible and aggressive course of, with fewer whole steps required to start within the fall at their dream colleges. The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention quantifies the psychological well being disaster for college kids age 12 to 17 years outdated: from March to October 2020, the variety of hospital emergency room visits for psychological well being issues rose 31 %. We’ve but to find out the true extent of pandemic residing and studying on our youngest populations.

College students can nonetheless present writing and subject-level expertise.

They don’t want another essay or take a look at. As an alternative, college students can present their essay writing by way of the precise school essay, their AP English rating, and different testing means. The common SAT itself nonetheless measures writing and modifying expertise, too.

College students additionally want equal entry to testing.

In 2020, the School Board mentioned, “College students filed 2.2 million registrations to take the SAT on a weekend. However solely about 900,000 exams have been taken throughout these periods. Quite a few examination facilities closed for public well being causes, generally with little discover. Lots of of hundreds extra SATs have been administered final yr by way of publicly funded packages throughout college days.” As colleges across the nation stay in a digital or hybrid setting, testing in individual throughout the college day will likely be one other casualty of the pandemic. This ends in decreased entry to the take a look at.

Some universities are responding to inequities as properly, trending in the direction of dropping conventional standardized exams briefly and even completely. The College of California responded to pandemic wants in Might by suspending testing necessities for 2 years and omitting take a look at scores from in-state functions for 2023 and 2024. Different universities are briefly following with related “test-optional” and “test-blind” stances, as an alternative specializing in different features akin to transcripts, AP take a look at scores, and management.

However, is there one more reason for canceling the exams?  

As we look ahead to the brief and long-term results of this determination, our consideration now turns to the potential motivation … to extend involvement in AP courses and exams. If educators are actually inspired to push AP courses on college students who possibly shouldn’t be in them for the sake of faculty competitors, as some academics and educators concern, then the SAT determination might have been for nothing. 

As academics watching precise, dwell, human 18-year-olds grapple with life-changing choices, and the applying course of that goes together with these, we implore schools and testing organizations to think about the best, most accessible, and most streamlined model of your processes. For his or her futures, and their psychological well being.

What do you concentrate on the plan to drop the elective SAT essay and topic exams? Share within the feedback beneath.

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